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Is there a "fuzzy edge" to e-bikes?

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Is there a "fuzzy edge" to e-bikes?

Old 05-25-21, 06:33 AM
  #1  
FelixScout
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Is there a "fuzzy edge" to e-bikes?

What I mean is this: Is there a definitive line between E-bikes and lower powered electric motorcycles/moped types or is there some fuzziness on between what is a e-bike and a electric moped?

I ask this because I'm starting to see ads for what seem to be lower powered electric motorcycles with a secondary pedaling ability.

Or am I missing something.
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Old 05-25-21, 07:10 AM
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This certainly blurs the line: Juiced Scorpion



There are also less expensive moped/scooter style electric personal transport that have pedals (mainly for looks).

To determine what is better suited for your needs, you need to specify the load, range & terrain& traffic pattern that you plan to operate in.

Until the government regulation catchup to clearly define when type of electric vehicle require license, registration & insurance; I'm glad to pretend that anything that can be propelled with human powered pedals are considered unnecessary for licensing.

But reality is: not all can operate a vehicle among public roads with motorized vehicle traffic safely.

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Old 05-25-21, 07:42 AM
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Another "blurry" e-bike in the news:

https://electrek.co/2021/05/25/the-4...drive-e-bikes/

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Old 05-25-21, 08:18 AM
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I don't think there will ever be a solid line because buyers cover a spectrum, from those that like the motorcycle look, if not the price to those that want their ebike to look like a road bike, and everything in between. Much like cars - some like a rugged, agressive look, while others want a prius look.

Manufacturers focus on products that sell, meeting the varying wants of their customers.

Even when legislation tries to establish lines, watch companies blur these lines, because some buyers (maybe most?) could care less about those lines.
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Old 05-25-21, 11:26 AM
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Yeah its always been fuzy. European's have a pretty clear distinction and require licenses for even moderately fast ebikes (<28mph). Technically, there are similar rules over here, but its pretty patchwork.

Nothin new. Back in the last century we had 100lb gas mopeds that were equipped with pedals to get around the laws. I tried pedaling one of those when I ran out of gas - they were easier to walk/push than they were to pedal. (Kinda like when Subaru put seats in the bed of a pickup truck, so it wouldn't be a pickup truck per import laws).
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Old 05-25-21, 03:02 PM
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The Solex in the day was also a great get-away machine for a 13-14 year old, oddly some of the step through e-bikes I see today look similar. I could actually peddle the Solex if necessary a ways. I wouldn't mind having a vintage one again, they went a long way on a few drops of fuel
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Old 05-25-21, 08:19 PM
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An e-bike is a bicycle with a pedal assist, a moped or motorcycle has a throttle and a moped in specific will have pedals but you probably won't want to use them.

Class 1 and 3 are generally actually e-bikes and class 2 are really crappy mopeds that they sell as e-bikes because we haven't figured it out.
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Old 05-25-21, 08:40 PM
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HR 727 defines what a low power ebike is in fairly simple terms. Not sure why people keep saying it is fuzzy.

How they go about enforcing it is a longer discussion, but the definition is there.

California has created a whole additional set of definitions, but that is what one expects from that state.
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Old 05-25-21, 10:05 PM
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As above. Pedal assist is an ebike. If it has a throttle it is a motor bike.
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Old 05-26-21, 07:04 AM
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Check your state laws. There is no "fuzzy."

The problem is when people think they are cute as they make up their own definitions. This forum has a large number of those people. It was more common in the first years of the current e-bike boom, but some are still around.

The only definitions that matter are the ones in the states where you intend to operate.
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Old 05-26-21, 07:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Robert C View Post
Check your state laws. There is no "fuzzy."

The problem is when people think they are cute as they make up their own definitions. This forum has a large number of those people. It was more common in the first years of the current e-bike boom, but some are still around.

The only definitions that matter are the ones in the states where you intend to operate.
Not true where I live, New Hampshire. Current state law and definitions are filled with contradictions.

"The problem is when people think" they know the answers, when they haven't done their homework. That and sweeping generalizations. What may be true in your place may not be true in mine.
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Old 05-26-21, 07:23 AM
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About half of the states have "Class (1, 2 & 3) rules which define e-bikes, but can be superseded by local laws. Units that fall within these boundaries are considered the same as bicycles; those outside are either mopeds or motorcycles, and need to be licensed and/or insured as such. The caveat is that many areas have little or no policing. In litigious CA, getting in an accident with one of the "outliers" could be expensive.
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Old 05-26-21, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Robert C View Post
Check your state laws. There is no "fuzzy."

The problem is when people think they are cute as they make up their own definitions. This forum has a large number of those people. It was more common in the first years of the current e-bike boom, but some are still around.

The only definitions that matter are the ones in the states where you intend to operate.
I reside in one state, own & commute to businesses in two other neighboring states within 2 hour ride time.
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Old 05-30-21, 11:01 AM
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Class II e-bikes have enough power to move along at speeds up to 20 mph with motor power alone and so can be thought of as electric mopeds. Class I bikes need pedal power and Class III usually have limitations based on their being engineered to go at 28 mph but with lighter weight batteries.
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Old 06-01-21, 02:36 AM
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In my experience in Southern California it is the individual bike and , more importantly, the rider that defines the ďlinesĒ . I donít ride e bikes but my wife has a couple of them due to certain physical limitations/ disabilities. One of her bikes is a hub motor with a throttle and her most recent is a mid drive without throttle. She rides both bikes the same, always pedaling using the motor as an assist. I ride vintage racing bikes and she is able to cruise along with me , not fast . We donít ride fast by some peopleís standard. I have seen similar hub drive bikes with throttles being ridden without pedaling at higher rate of speed in the bike lanes and that can be a problem, but most of the time I see people pedaling and just using the assist as a way to increase speed and distance.
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Old 06-01-21, 06:40 AM
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Originally Posted by MarcusT View Post
As above. Pedal assist is an ebike. If it has a throttle it is a motor bike.
No Class 2 ebike less than 750W is an ebike. Mopeds are 49cc or less with a 1.5 to 2 HP motor depending on your jurisdiction. Do you own or ride an ebike? It seems a lot of posters don't know the laws regarding ebikes and moped/scooters/motorcycles. If I'm riding my ebike downhill at 40 MPH does that make me a motorcycle? No.
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Old 06-01-21, 06:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Calsun View Post
Class II e-bikes have enough power to move along at speeds up to 20 mph with motor power alone and so can be thought of as electric mopeds. Class I bikes need pedal power and Class III usually have limitations based on their being engineered to go at 28 mph but with lighter weight batteries.
These classifications aren't mutually exclusive.
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Old 06-01-21, 07:07 AM
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Originally Posted by alloo View Post
No Class 2 ebike less than 750W is an ebike. Mopeds are 49cc or less with a 1.5 to 2 HP motor depending on your jurisdiction. Do you own or ride an ebike? It seems a lot of posters don't know the laws regarding ebikes and moped/scooters/motorcycles. If I'm riding my ebike downhill at 40 MPH does that make me a motorcycle? No.
This may be legally true in some areas, but not others. And to complicate matters further, in some states, like mine, the legal definitions conflict.

To put it another way, these things are defined locally, at the state (or even city) level, not nationally, so please don't be so quick to generalize.
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Old 06-01-21, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by alloo View Post
These classifications aren't mutually exclusive.
They are are such by the laws in Europe and the USA where bike paths and trails are in use. Many jurisdictions allow Class I and Class II e-bikes but not Class III ones. A Class III bike may actually be less powerful in terms of its motor and battery pack than a Class II bike but if it has a motor and controller that provides for speeds up to 28 mph then it will be treated as a Class III bike.

Similar situation in the USA where motorcycles were classified by the cubic inches of their engines and not horsepower in determining whether they would be allowed on freeways.
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Old 06-01-21, 11:51 PM
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Originally Posted by alloo View Post
No Class 2 ebike less than 750W is an ebike. Mopeds are 49cc or less with a 1.5 to 2 HP motor depending on your jurisdiction. Do you own or ride an ebike? It seems a lot of posters don't know the laws regarding ebikes and moped/scooters/motorcycles. If I'm riding my ebike downhill at 40 MPH does that make me a motorcycle? No.
I own a pedal assist and use it for rides I would not be able to do on a non assist bike (mountains and such)
The laws and classifications are still in their infancy. This is how I see it.
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Old 06-02-21, 01:33 AM
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In Sweden - and most of Europe AFAIK - the rules WRT power and allowed speed are clear. Anything bought from a store and kept stock wonít have any fuzzies to it WRT power and allowed speed.
Design-wise, We donít get much of that motorcycle styling. There are some high-powered off-road two-wheelers that look fairly similar to dirtbikes, but thatís more through necessity than styling. And they tend to be either home-made from DH MTBs or wildly illegal for road use, or both.
The most obvious ĒfuzzyĒ when it comes to design are things like the Rawbike. As far as fit and position goes, itís somewhere between a Cruiser and an old school moped. These CAN be pedaled, but not very efficiently. Some riders are content with putting in the token effort to keep the motor going. Others modify them to use a throttle.
Overall, Iím honestly not that troubled by the legal definition. If it weighs like a bicycle and moves like a bicycle, let it move with the bicycles.
A technically illegal DIY bike thatís ridden sensibly would trouble me less than a stock ebike with the front brake disassembled.
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Old 06-02-21, 04:58 AM
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Originally Posted by dabac View Post
A technically illegal DIY bike thatís ridden sensibly would trouble me less than a stock ebike with the front brake disassembled.
Why would someone do that?
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Old 06-02-21, 05:03 AM
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Originally Posted by FelixScout View Post
Why would someone do that?
I have no idea. Maybe the fear of going OTB.
One of the downsides of ebikes is the huge influx of new, inexperienced riders they've created. OTB could be a valid concern for them.
Whatever the reason, I'll see at least one every week I ride in city traffic.
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Old 06-07-21, 06:08 PM
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Lots of poorly built, overpowered, unlicensced, uninsurable, DIY motorcycles out there, trying to masquerade as ebikes.
Ask your insurance agent rather than your legislature if it is an insurable electric bicycle, and if you are covered.
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Old 06-12-21, 04:56 PM
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I have a converted T50 and have a throttle as well as pedal assist, but the main purpose of the throttle is to assist taking off as the T50 is a recumbent. As long as I keep pedaling, I should be okay with the law. Most of the time I run 20 mph or less. Sometimes I will crank it up to 25 mph. 15 mph max would be useless to me.
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